Minns announces NSW Government Ministry

ON TUESDAY morning, NSW Premier Chris Minns announced his government’s first full Ministry.

The Minns Ministry is a reduced Cabinet of 22 Ministers, but for the first time in New South Wales history, will be 50 percent women (excluding the Premier).

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For the first time in New South Wales history, a woman will hold the position of Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council (Penny Sharpe).

For the first time in New South Wales history, a woman will hold the portfolio of Energy (Penny Sharpe), Police (Yasmin Catley), Regional NSW (Tara Moriarty), Finance (Courtney Houssos) and Regional Transport (Jenny Aitchison).

For the first time in New South Wales history, an Australian Minister was sworn in on the Bhagavad Gita (Daniel Mookhey), and a NSW Minister will be sworn in on the Quran (Dib).

Prue Car will serve as Deputy Premier, Minister for Education and Early Learning and Minister for Western Sydney.

Penny Sharpe will take on the responsibility of Energy and Climate Change, Environment and Heritage as well as Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council.

Yasmin Catley will take on the responsibility of Minister for Police and Counter Terrorism.

Jihad Dib will take on Customer Service and Digital Government, as well as Emergency Services and Youth Justice.
Tara Moriarty will take on Agriculture, Regional NSW and Western NSW.

David Harris will take on Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty, Gaming and Racing, Veterans, Medical Research, and the Central Coast.

Rose Jackson will serve as the Minister for the North Coast.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said his team have a “lot of hard work in front of us” but are “up to the challenge”.

“We have a clear mandate from the people of NSW to rebuild our essential services, to invest in the people who look after us – our nurses, teachers, paramedics, firefighters and police officers,” Mr Minns said.

“Our priority is to help families and households deal with the increasing cost of living, the energy crisis and to fix our schools and hospitals.”

Farmers NSW, the state’s peak farming body, said on Tuesday incoming Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty will need to hit the ground running to keep food production on track.

The organisation’s CEO Pete Arkle said while Ms Moriarty did not have an agricultural background, in her first speech to Parliament she had spoken passionately about “embracing technology and new ideas and rolling out the infrastructure that assists more efficient freight and people movement around the regions”.

“Agriculture is a critical industry for the state – not just in terms of jobs and economics – we grow the food and fibre that feeds and clothes people,” Mr Arkle said.

“The Minister has an understanding of what it’s like to live outside of Sydney, but when you look at regional, rural and remote communities, there’s a big gap in services and opportunities.

Mr Arkle said NSW Labor had shown an interest in working constructively with the farming sector, with Mr Minns promising to deliver an independent Agriculture Commissioner and a fresh focus on domestic biosecurity at the NSW Farmers Annual Conference last year.

“There are some headwinds facing farmers at the moment, and it’s critical to have support for this important sector from the state government,” Mr Arkle said.

“There are opportunities for partnerships between farmers and government – say in environmental gains through on-farm natural capital enhancement – where management of land and incentives from government work together without impacting production capacity.

“This is why we have been calling for an independent Agriculture Commissioner who can assist whole-of-government decisions to build better planning, environmental and production outcomes, and Mr Minns has promised to deliver that role.”

A number of issues such as regional roads, land use conflict, rural health services and the cost of living emerged a number of times during election debates hosted by NSW Farmers, and Mr Arkle said the onus was now on the incoming government to provide solutions.

“NSW Farmers is in the business of advocating for our members and our communities, but it is up to the government of the day to deliver,” he said.

“Penny Sharpe will have her hands full with energy and the environment, because we have seen numerous examples of avoidable conflict when it comes to renewables on agricultural land, and Rose Jackson will need to carefully navigate the water portfolio to ensure farmers can access that precious resource to grow our food and fibre.

“Jenny Aitchison will also have a huge task ahead of her in terms of repairing and improving our road and rail network, so we can get food from farm gate to dinner plate efficiently and cost-effectively.”

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